5 Ways to Find Original Topics That Your Audience Will Love

Feb 15, 2018

Content marketing is here to stay. If you’re like 72% of businesses, you already have a content marketing plan in place—and that number grows bigger every year as more and more businesses discover the benefits and cost-effectiveness of the strategy. There’s one big problem with this: as more businesses engage in content marketing, readers are bombarded with more and more content. Not all of these topics are good, but collectively, they cover a wide range of material, making it harder and harder to stand out in the oversaturated market.

The problem is so severe that only about 25% of content pieces today end up attracting any links or shares at all. In order to become a part of that 25%, you have to find topics that are original—that have never been done before. But if you go too far outside your comfort zone, or if you dig into a niche that’s too specific, it could end up alienating your audience instead of attracting them. So how can you find new topic ideas without turning your audience away?

You’ve got plenty of options.

Make an Existing Topic Better

Your first option is to redo a topic that’s already been done. How is that original? That’s up to you. Your job is to make it better. That might mean going into a little more detail, expanding on a specific section in the existing article, presenting a strong counterargument, including more visual elements like images and video, or almost anything else you can think of.

Start by looking at some of your closest competitors, and influential blogs and forums in your industry. You ought to find several dozen topics trending with high share counts, lots of comments, and generally positive reception. Then, dig deep into those articles.

What are they missing? How could they be done differently? How could they be done better? That’s where you come in. Differentiate yourself.

Conduct Your Own Research

Your next option is related to the first, but instead of trying to offer a different take on a topic, you’ll either be confirming or disproving one based on your own findings. The key here isn’t necessarily to find a new topic, nor is it to present a topic in a different way.

The key is to use unique information to validate or invalidate the original piece. For example, let’s say you work in the marketing industry and you found an article that claims color changes can increase conversion rates. Instead of disagreeing or finding a new spin on that topic, put it to the test—experiment with your own calls to action in varying colors, and post your findings.

Your original research will make the topic your own.

Find Unanswered Questions

Some of the best pieces of content today are ones that answer common reader questions—this is because people often search for answers online, increasing the likelihood that your piece of content will show up for said search.

However, too many people have already answered the common questions, like “how to make pasta” or “why is the sky blue?” You don’t have a chance of ranking or standing out if you answer questions that have already been addressed, so dig deep on forums, social media, and platforms like Quora to find questions that haven’t yet been answered.

You’ll know your topic will be original, and even better—you’ll know it’s important to somebody.

Take Suggestions

Sometimes the obvious solutions are the ones that elude us most. If you’re looking for topics that your audience actually cares about, why not ask your audience directly? Pose a question to your social media followers, or conduct a short survey of your most important customers and visitors.

Ask what they’d like to see on your blog and what you can do to improve your content strategy—chances are, they’ll give you at least a handful of topics to run with. You can also monitor your blog closely for user comments and discussion threads that specifically request or mention possible new topics.

If you’ve got employees that have some time to spare, ask them to brainstorm a list of topic ideas for the company blog. After all, nobody knows your industry, your audience, and their needs better than your front-line team.

Look to the Future

Most articles focus on the present or the past, but users are always looking to the future for something new. This is true for almost every industry, so consider incorporating more posts that make predictions about the future, or project the growth of certain trends over the next several years.

The magic of this is that you’ll almost always be guaranteed an original topic—who else is going to share your prediction exactly unless they copy it directly? And people are always curious to see more opinions about the future, so you’ll never have to worry about relevance.

As you can see, there are several strategies you can use to find original ideas that actually matter to your audience. You don’t have to try and hunt down weird niche topics or distinguish yourself just for the sake of distinguishing yourself. All you have to do is listen; listen to what your competitors are saying and listen to what your customers are talking about.

From those two main sources alone, you should have dozens of fresh opportunities daily for a new topic or a new angle on an old topic. The more practice you get, the better you’ll become at sniffing those opportunities out and making the most of them once they start developing.

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